Research Article

Weight gain and the sleeping electroencephalogram: study of 10 patients with anorexia nervosa.

Br Med J 1975; 4 doi: (Published 06 December 1975) Cite this as: Br Med J 1975;4:556
  1. J H Lacey,
  2. A H Crisp,
  3. R S Kalucy,
  4. M K Hartmann,
  5. C N Chien


    The relation between reduced nutritional intake, with consequent weight loss, and sleep disturbance was studied by comparing certain sleep encephalogram patterns in a group of inpatients with anorexia nervosa before, during, and after a regimen of refeeding with a normal diet to a matched population mean weight. At low body weights patients had less sleep and more restlessness, especially in the last four hours of the night. During refeeding and weight gain slow-wave sleep initially increased and then tended to decrease during the final stage of restoration of weight back to matched population mean levels. With the overall weight gain, however, there was a significant increase in length of sleep and rapid eye movement sleep, the latter increasing especially during the later stages of weight gain. These results reaffirm that insomnia, and especially early morning waking, is associated with low body weight in anorexia nervosa, and their implications are discussed with particular reference to a hypothetical association between various anabolic profiles and the need for differing components of sleep.